This cleaner sews amazing portraits of her music idols


Cape Town - A cleaner is carving out a career as an artist creating fabric portraits of her musical idols using a 1960s Singer sewing machine.

Jane Sanders’ masterpieces of well-known icons such as David Bowie, Blondie, Billie Holiday, Robert Smith, Liam Gallagher and Amy Winehouse are all created in her kitchen in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in northeast England.

The single mom of two has gained an international following thanks to social media and her Stitchin’ in the Kitchen portraits are now selling for £300 to £400 (about R5250 and R 7000).

The 45-year-old has created around 50 portraits of well-known icons over the past two and a half years and has exhibited at local galleries.

“I like to push textiles to its limit. It used to be seen as this ‘nanna’ thing to do but now it’s become an art in its own right, like photography or sculpture.

“Rather than making something like an appliqué cover I thought I’d make a textile picture and combine that with my love of musicians.

“I make all of them in my kitchen.”

Jane did a degree in painting at the University of Northumbria and started to get back into art as her children got older – they’re now 21 and 15 years old.

“My mum taught me to sew with her 1960s Singer Fashion Mate machine. I actually use one of those today – one I picked up at a market 25 years ago.

“My first was a portrait of Amy Winehouse which was sold to my first follower on Instagram – in Texas [US].

“As an artist if you like flowers you’ll paint flowers and if you like cars you might paint cars. I love music and I love sewing so I put the two together.”

She says she finds an image that will represent the artist, then she does a drawing of the image on tracing paper and transpose it onto fabric.

“One portrait takes about two weeks working for around two to three hours in the evenings.

“I always listen to the music of the artist as I’m making the portrait. It’s like you magically sew the music into the piece.”


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